Breaux Bridge Crawfish Bisque with Cornbread Stuffed Shell
Courtesy of Executive Chef Eric LaBourchere and Sous Chef Nat Carrier
A deep down full flavored Louisiana classic right here. When the season peaks, our collective minds drift to the anticipation of standing in backyards around long tables elbow to elbow lost in ecstatic delight over piles of steaming spicy fat crawfish. Up here at Martinique, we also start dreaming about preparing, serving and sipping on crawfish bisque. It’s an absolutely bold preparation on the saucier’s end; you often feel like you have been submerged in a murky crawfish pot by the end. Don’t mistake us there; it’s a great feeling we look forward to all year. We recommend focusing on the soup first, and using any downtime to take care of the cornbread and stuffed shells afterwards. Like a gumbo, this soup tastes best in the days after it’s first been made when all the seasonings have time to meld and balance. A great dish for a casual gathering anytime. On the equipment end, we use a Vita-Prep blender and a chinoise, a true fine mesh sieve. Both make a huge difference in texture, but it will delicious either way when cooked with proper enthusiasm.
Crawfish Cornbread Stuffing
½ large onion, finely diced
3 ribs celery, finely diced
¼ c Louisiana crawfish tails, roughly chopped
2 cups crumbled cornbread
½ bunch green onions, finely sliced
Salt to taste
Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
40 cleaned boiled crawfish heads (‘shells’)
Sauté onion and celery in whole butter until tender, and transfer to a strainer to remove excess grease, all to cool. Place all ingredients in a large workbowl; mix to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste. Stuff mixture into crawfish shells, bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Garnish each bowl of soup with at least two stuffed shell.
1 cup milk
¼ cup butter
1 ¼ c cornmeal
1 cup ap flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
½ t salt
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly coat a 14” x 14” baking pan with whole butter. Combine all dry ingredients in one workbowl. Combine all wet ingredients in separate workbowl. With a rubber spatula, fold together quickly and lightly until just combined. Transfer to baking pan, bake 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
6 oz whole butter, cubed
6 yellow onions, finely diced
12 ribs celery, finely diced
6-8 large carrots (approx 2 lb.), peeled, finely diced
2 T tomato paste
64 oz San Marzano canned tomatoes
1 gallon shellfish stock
Bouqet garni of thyme and bay leaf
1 cup Louisiana popcorn rice
3 lb live crawfish, purged to taste
6 green bell peppers, ribbed and seeded, finely diced
3 red bell peppers, ribbed and seeded, finely diced
¾ cup dark roux
coarsely ground black pepper
1 lb Lousiana crawfish tails in fat
Place a large heavy bottomed pot over a medium flame with cubed butter. Once butter is melted and begins to foam, add onions, celery and carrots. Sauté until tender and translucent, no color. Once tender, add tomato paste, stir well and allow paste to sauté for one minute. Add tomatoes, stock, and garni, and bring to a simmer. Add popcorn rice. Simmer for 20 minutes, add bell peppers and live, purged crawfish. Simmer for 15 minutes, then add dark roux, salt, cayenne and black pepper. Whisk vigorously, and simmer ten minutes. Allow to cool briefly.
In small batches, puree soup (yes, crawfish bodies and all) on highest speed, passing soup through a fine mesh sieve twice over and into a fresh pot. Return soup to the range and bring to a simmer over medium heat stirring occasionally. Once simmering, taste and adjust seasoning, add crawfish tails and simmer two minutes. Cool. When ready to serve gently reheat. Remember it needs to have that Louisiana heat to hit you right, just like a boil.